CNN Reporter Finds Abducted Florida Boys in Cuba UPDATED
Last week, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office issued an Amber Alert for two boys after their grandmother was tied up and the boys were taken from her.
Days ago, the department began receiving reports that the boys' father, Josh Hakken, had arrived in Havana on his boat along with his wife.
Now a CNN reporter says he's found Hakken in Cuba and has spotted the kidnapped boys with him.
CNN's Patrick Oppmann found Hakken on a Havana marina and even spotted one of the boys on the boat. He reports that the child was "OK."
Oppmann says it appeared as if Hakken was setting the boat up as a place to live with this wife and the boys.
Hakken confirmed to Oppmann who he was but refused to answer any more questions. The interview was cut short when Cuban security approached Oppmann and told him to leave.
Hakken, who hails from Louisiana, had lost custody of his sons, Cole, 4, and Chase, 2. And now it appears that he was the man who abducted them from their maternal grandmother on April 3.
According to cops, Hakken; his wife, Sharon; and the two boys boarded a sailboat at John's Pass Marina shortly after the kidnapping.
Witnesses also claim they spotted the Hakkens loading supplies into their sailboat before heading out to the Gulf of Mexico.
Authorities say Hakken purchased the boat -- a 25-foot 1972 Morgan called "Salty" -- shortly before allegedly kidnapping his sons.
The U.S. Interest Section in Cuba released a statement on Hakken and his family:
"U.S. officials are providing all appropriate assistance to the family. Because of privacy reasons, we are unable to provide any additional information. One of the Department's highest priorities is the welfare of U.S. citizens overseas. This is particularly true for children, who are our most vulnerable citizens. The Department works with parents and foreign governments to resolve these difficult cases."
As of Monday, the boys' Amber Alerts remain active in both Florida and Alabama.
UPDATE: The Associated Press reports that Cuba will turn Hakken and his wife over to the United States. According to Foreign Ministry official Johana Tablada, Cuba informed U.S. authorities that they decided to turn over Joshua Hakken, his wife Sharyn and their two boys, Cole and Chase. No word on when the turn over will happen.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.
- DOJ: Harlem Suarez, Inspired by ISIS, Planned to Bomb Key West and Miami
- Missing Teen Boaters: Moms on Today Show
- Wilton Drive Is a Death Trap